Q+A: Made in New York Media Center by IFP
The Made in NY Media Center by IFP opened its doors in October 2013 through a partnership between IFP, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and the NYCEDC. In their 20,000 sq ft. of DUMBO space, they offer a community of entrepreneurs working across new technologies and digital media, access to a network of expert resources, programs and perhaps most importantly, connections with each other. In addition, they hold various professional development events and programs for the public that aim to inspire, educate and provide access to the conversation around the future of media.
With IFP Film Week coming to DUMBO this year, the Creative>> Founder Lab a resounding success and their third birthday upcoming - it's exciting times for the Media Center! We sat down with Senior Programs Producer, Annie Malarkey, who told us more about this unique Dumbonian company...
What makes the Media Center unique?
I think we have a very unique proposition because we are a non-profit, but super innovative! We’re always working with innovative companies, which is fun for us, and we have that kind of collaborative community where everyone is really open. Our members are mostly early stage entrepreneurs - that's our bread and butter - but they're from are all kinds of companies, everything from journalism to gaming. They’re very willing to help each other, learn from each other and collaborate on new projects together. I think that’s a very special part of being in our community.
What are the benefits of being a member of the Media Center?
We try to teach the people that come here the benefits of a co-working space. The value of working side-by-side with other companies, and just those ‘water cooler’ moments when you aren’t expecting to connect with someone and learn from them. This is how professional relationships develop. Also, all the events and programs we hold are for our members benefit and we want them to take advantage of this. So, that’s why we’ve recently launched our Education Program. Here, we're helping creative people understand business ideas, and business people understand the creative side of things - the kind of skills that you don’t get taught in graduate school. Things like: How do you get the job? How do you speak to clients? All those skills you need, but aren’t really taught.
Can you tell us a bit about the special events you offer?
We have the Creative>> Founder Lab, which is wrapping up at the moment. This takes people with an idea for a business and helps them make it a reality. We go through the whole marketing process and the financial process so you can really be prepared and know what you’re getting into when you’re starting a business. Then, as part of our Incubator membership you can apply to become a part of Demo Day, which is a wonderful three-month process. We match you with two mentors; one focusing towards the business side of things and the other that can help you with your pitch deck. They do a ton of pitch training too and help to get the business plan in order. Afterwards, our members have the opportunity to pitch to investors and our partners, like Horizon, Hurst and Vimeo. Then we do a massive market place where people can walk around the entire media center and meet all the companies working in the space. It’s a great chance for them to show off what they’ve been working on. Sometimes you can get caught in your bubble and your mind-set of just being an entrepreneur working on your project, and you kind of have to share it with everyone!
How excited are you for the IFP Film Week coming to DUMBO?
I’m so excited; it’s going to be a blast! I’m looking forward to getting the whole DUMBO community involved. We’re planning on doing a tour for these top filmmakers to different advertising agencies and groups around DUMBO, so they can meet and understand what’s going on in this neighborhood. We’ll be doing some public facing programs too, things related to virtual reality and different outdoor screenings. We’ll have a four-day conference that’s about the future of film, but also the future of content – it’ll be everything from web series to what’s happening in TV right now, and everything related to media. So I’m really excited about it for sure!
What’s the office culture like at the Media Center?
It's a super casual, open culture. We have a very international team, so people come from all over the world and from different backgrounds. We have a lot of women working in the staff too, which I really love. That doesn’t always happen; I feel like one of our strengths is we have these really strong female leaders and this permeates throughout the culture and the companies we attract, which are also super diverse. For the Creative>> Founder Lab alone we had people come from Argentina and lots of other places. It’s nice, and we like to be this kind of worldly center. People call us the ‘Switzerland of co-working spaces’ because we are non-profit and all of these international partners look to us to help them understand innovation and what’s happening in New York City.
Of course, it's one third of the Tech Triangle! Also, it’s the fact that the creative technology community in DUMBO is really growing and we wanted to be here first. I think that’s the best reason to be here and I feel like there are so many companies just in this area. It's great to be able to collaborate with all these other companies. We’ve done things with Fake Love and Red Antler, so we’re always trying to find new partners in DUMBO.
My new favorite spot is the Usagi Cafe that just opened up; their 'Obento Lunchbox' is so good. The Farmers Market is great too, and I’m especially a fan of picklelicious! Of course, I love the classic Brooklyn Roasting, but my favorite thing is to grab a salad, go eat it in the park and enjoy the beautiful view. Who gets to do that on their lunch break? We’re so lucky to be able to do that in DUMBO!